When nations move to a war footing, there is a need for support from the population. This is why President George W Bush and his team were able to wrangle the will for the invasion in Iraq. The fact that that was a terrorist attack and Iraq had nothing to do with 911 deterred Americans. We were attacked, and for most Americans, it did not matter who paid the price.
It was after the war when people realized that they were conned, that we saw increased opposition to the war. However, since we do not have a draft, we also saw most people show apathy about this. However, President Donald Trump saw what happened after 911 and saw this strike as a way to secure his reelection. It was also an extremely good way to distract from the upcoming trial in the Senate. More on this bellow.
Americans are not rallying around the president. Part of that may be the constant attacks on the Intelligence Community over the last three years, as well as the 2001 experience. People remember and are far more skeptical. According to USA Today:
Americans by more than 2–1 said the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani has made the United States less safe, a nationwide USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds, amid broad concerns about the potential consequences ahead.
A majority of those surveyed, by 52%-34%, called President Donald Trump’s behavior with Iran “reckless.”
Americans were divided on the wisdom of the drone strike at the Baghdad airport last week that killed Soleimani and others: 42% supported it, 33% opposed it; 25% said they didn’t know what to think. Republicans were much more supportive than Democrats; independents were almost evenly split.
But there was overwhelming agreement — in each case by more than 6–1 — that the attack made it more likely Iran would strike American interests in the Middle East (69%), that there would be terrorist attacks on the American homeland (63%), and that the United States and Iran would go to war (62%).
So this is not good news for the president. Going to war with Iran, which likely will require a draft, is not popular. And I saw the early opposition to this with the Far-Right sites, such as 4Chan. They were simply not going to fight a war for Israel. However, wrong their reasons, including the open antisemitism, this is a core part of Donald Trump’s base. They are opposed, and will not join to fight, or support any military action that leads to a long open war with Iran.
The fact that they do not understand that there is a shadow war is another story. And perhaps that is a good thing.
Then we had the reporting from Vox, quoting the Wall Street Journal:
The administration has made a slapdash case for why it chose to assassinate Soleimani, but the main arguments have been that he was planning to attack Americans within days, and that the US would always respond forcefully after US citizens were killed. In December, an Iranian-backed militia killed an American contractor in Iraq.
But the Wall Street Journal on Thursday night included an eye-popping tidbit in its story about how Trump came to green-light the Soleimani operation: “Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.”
In other words, the president felt the need to shore up support from some unnamed Republican lawmakers ahead of his imminent Senate impeachment trial.
Let me explain this from the point of view of psychology. This is not going well for the president. He has gotten pushback from multiple quarters. The polls are not going his way. For the narcissist in chief, all this is bad news. So as he always does, he is deflecting. Those unnamed Senators might be in danger of facing the voters and losing as well. This could be bad news if the Republicans lose the Senate, and the Democrats keep the House. I do not believe the prospect of actually losing the election to a Democrat enters into Trump’s calculation at this point.
Trump fears the trial in the Senate, which from all we can see will be a joke, but it still could be very damaging. One reason was Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding on to the articles. We have had a discussion on how the trial should proceed, including witnesses. All other trials have had them, so that is the precedent. However, now Americans are starting to ask, what is Leader Mitch McConnell hiding? Whether he is, or not, it shows the level of collusion and corruption.
In other words, when Trump said there was a swamp in Washington, it was truth-telling. However, he did not tell us who exactly was running it. And now we can tell that those who will for an oligarchy, or a kakistocracy, is the Republican Party, or at least its leadership.
After this presidency is over, no matter how it ends, the imperial presidency itself must be weakened. The problem is that if Democrats sweep the House, Senate, and White House, they may feel they do not need to. In fact, they do, and that will be part of their mandate.